ACTIVE AGING

Muscle Matters: Flex your strength and energy

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Use it or lose it. You've probably heard this expression a million times, but have you ever heard it used to actually describe what can happen if you don't exercise your muscles over time? In fact, studies show that it can take only a few days of lying in bed to lose muscle mass and strength.

Top 6 Reasons Why Maintaining Muscle Strength Matters

When you make your muscles work, they respond by growing stronger. And strong, healthy muscles can help you to:

  • Maintain your independence.
  • Help perform everyday tasks like lift groceries or reach-up into higher cupboards.
  • Improve balance, coordination and mobility.
  • Reduce your risk of falling.
  • Gain strength and energy.
  • Help keep your joints in good shape.
Muscle image

So, what can be done? What can you do? Give it the old one-two punch!

1. Get the right nutrition

  • Aim to eat an adequate amount of protein each day. The recommended daily protein intake for Malaysian adults is 62 g for males and 55 g for female. For the elderly (from 60 years), the recommended daily protein intake is 57 g for males and 49 g for females.5
  • Eat high-quality protein like yogurt, lean meats, fish, edamame, tofu.
  • Eat your Omega-3 fats including salmon, walnuts, eggs, flaxseed.
  • Get plenty of Vitamin D.
  • Add Ensure® as part of your dietary intake twice daily.

2. Strength exercises

Seated leg lifts, arm raises, bicep curls—simple repetitive movements, with or without weights, if done regularly, not only help to build up bone and muscles but can help counteract the weakness that comes with age.

Here are six fun ideas to flex your muscles:

  • Walk the mall with your friends.
  • Take the stairs instead of the escalator.
  • Enrol in a yoga, dance or pottery class.
  • Try water aerobics.
  • Use low-weight ankle weights.
  • Buy yourself new work out gear for inspiration.

More importantly – thank yourself for getting up and out!

References
  • Baier S, Johannsen D, Abumrad N, et al. Year-long changes in protein metabolism in elderly men and women supplemented with a nutrition cocktail of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), L-arginine, and L-lysine. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2009;33(1):71-82.
  • Flakoll P, Sharp, R, Baier S, et al. Effect of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, arginine, and lysine supplementation on strength, functionality, body composition, and protein metabolism in elderly women. Nutrition 2004;20(5):445-451.
  • Grimby G, Danneskiold-Samsoe B, Hvid K, et al. Morphology and enzymatic capacity in arm and leg muscles in 78-81 year old men and women. Acta Physiol Scand. 1982;115(1):125-134.
  • Janssen I, Heymsfield SB, Wang ZM, et al. Skeletal muscle mass and distribution in 468 men and women aged 18-88 yr. J Appl Physiol. 2000;89(1):81-88.
  • National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition, Ministry of Health Malaysia. Recommended Nutrient Intakes for Malaysia. 2017.